Many artists find it helpful to practice freehand figure drawing with a visual reference. A common tool is the wooden mannequin, which is typically small enough to rest on a desk or tabletop and features jointed, adjustable segments. Available in a variety of types—the male and female human form, individual body parts, and animals—mannequins are designed to help artists see how pieces of a whole relate to each other. They enable better understanding of organic shapes, poses, and motions. Find the best mannequin for your studio with the help of our reviews of five favorites, below.
1. US Art Supply Wood Artist Drawing Mannequin
This 12-inch model is properly proportioned to reflect the human body and features well-articulated parts, including knees, wrists, and feet. Made of a lightweight but hard wood, its segments are attached firmly at the joints so they move smoothly but also stay in place without slipping from their poses. Sketch from everyday positions such as sitting or walking, or bend the figure to form a wide array of action poses, including ones that let you bend its legs upward to meet its outstretched arms.
2. HSOMiD Artists Wooden Mannequin
This wooden figure is made of smooth wood and reliable spring-loaded joints, but it does have drawbacks in its mobility. Its joints can’t be bent to form acute angles, so some common positions can’t be achieved. However, all of its parts move well and bend with ease, and it offers decent head and hip movement so you can create subtle, evocative poses.
3. WANDIC Wooden Manikin
This nifty little mannequin family features four models in three different heights. Each is made of seasoned hardwood and is reasonably malleable: You can bend them into basic poses, but we wouldn’t consider them full range. The joints also do not move as smoothly as those of our other picks, but they should gradually loosen with frequent use. Because these mannequins can be removed from their bases, they can also be used in stop-motion animations.
4. Wood Artist Drawing Mannequin Right Hand
If you want to focus on drawing hands, look no farther than this sturdy model. Made of smooth, durable wood, it is built with secure and strong junctures for easy manipulation. The fingers are elegantly shaped and can bend at all anatomically correct joints, and you can fold them to form a fist; there is a wrist joint as well. Our one gripe is that the thumb has a limited range of motion. However, this mannequin wins us over as it is true to the size of a typical hand.
5. US Art Supply Wooden Horse Drawing Mannequin
Attractive and distinct-looking, this model could be displayed as a decorative piece of sculpture. Handmade from hardwood, it is carefully shaped to precisely reflect the anatomy of a horse, featuring high-quality, articulated parts from fetlocks to hocks. Its neck is made of thin pieces of wood that allow it to gracefully bend from side to side, and its tail is made of real horsehair. Whether you want to draw a galloping, trotting, or even a rearing equine, this model will familiarize you with a horse’s natural movements.